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The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

July 30, 2023 - August 13, 2023  |  Santa Cruz


The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, even at a seasoned 60 years old, is all about the new—the here and now of contemporary works for orchestra. To quote Financial Times music critic Allan Ulrich, “…in the surf mecca of Santa Cruz, 75 miles south of San Francisco, the Cabrillo Festival has made the contemporary repertoire sound urgent, indispensable and even sexy.”

The 2023 season runs from July 30-August 13. Please visit for more info.

In late July and early August each year, audiences are joined by both preeminent and emerging composers, spectacular guest artists, and an orchestra of dedicated professional musicians from across the globe to give voice to works which are rarely more than a year or two old, and sometimes still wet on the page. The opportunity for composers to work with musicians skilled and enthusiastic about bringing these new works to life, in the beautiful, coastal college-town of Santa Cruz, California, makes this an artistic paradise. With a professional training workshop for early career conductors and composers, open rehearsals almost daily, educational programming, and much more, the Cabrillo Festival has dozens of opportunities for meaningful engagement.

In 2017 the Festival embarked on a new era of artistic leadership with the appointment of Music Director and Conductor Cristian Macelaru. Past music directors include Marin Alsop (1992-2016, now Music Director Laureate), John Adams (1991), Dennis Russel Davies (1974-1990), Aaron Copland (1978), Carlos Chavez (1970-1973), Gerhard Samuel (1963-1968). More information on the Festival’s history can be found here.

The 2023 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute.


July 30, 2023
August 13, 2023


Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States + Google Map